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Farm & finance · News & views

The changing role of private banks in the rural finance marketplace

Private banks have traditionally serviced high net worth clients. But these banks are changing their lending criteria, and are likely to appeal to more farming clients.

Permitted development of farm buildings – the finance options

The April 2018 changes to permitted development rights for agricultural buildings present opportunities for farmers. For those needing finance, we explain some of the different finance options for farmers depending on their circumstances and long-term plans.

Good farm and rural mortgage deals to be had, if you know where to look

Farm borrowing is continuing to rise, but banks are becoming more regulated and stringent with their lending. We look at the different types of lenders in the farm and rural mortgage market and the margins currently possible.

What questions should you ask when preparing a business plan?

A business plan is an essential document to put in front of your bank manager when you are discussing finance. We set out some of the subjects and questions you should ask yourself when preparing a plan.

Will interest rates be on the move soon?

Opinions on whether the Bank of England base rate will increase from its low of 0.25% have been divided for some time. We look at the arguments for and against, and tell you what this means for farm and rural businesses.

Bank reorganisation – what it means for farmers and what can you do

Many banks and financial institutions are cutting costs by restructuring their businesses. This can mean a change in bank manager or a move to a telephone service. We look at what is happening and what you can do if you are unhappy or struggling with your new banking arrangements.

Loyalty to your lender could be an expensive mistake

90% of small businesses get their loans from their main bank, with no shopping around for other lenders. Have you ever compared your bank's rates, terms and conditions against other lenders? You could end up saving money or being in a more flexible position.

The time is not right for an interest rate rise – but be on alert

Despite the 5-3 vote from the MPC last week, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said the time is not yet right for an interest rate rise. At R&BS we monitor fixed rate cost of funds closely and give updates on market trends to help you to decide if you should fix your interest rates or not. 

Uncertainty is certain. How can farms prepare for a few bumpy years ahead?

The farming industry is bracing itself for a big change with Brexit looming. Our contacts in the banks are saying ‘business as usual’ but there are indicators of instability. What can farms and rural businesses do to prepare for a period of uncertainty? 

Will UK interest rates rise?

Are interest rates on the move? We think not which is good news for farming businesses. While interest rates are low, it’s a good time to invest too. But there will come a time when you might want to fix your interest rates - but when? Each business should draw their own conclusion based on their circumstances and approach to risk.

Farmers should plan for Brexit changes sooner rather than later

Many banks and rural lenders remain supportive of the farming industry. However, R&BS would encourage farms and rural businesses to plan for change and evaluate their financial options now rather than wait for the outcome of the exit negotiations with the EU.

Increasing numbers of unsecured lenders open opportunities for farms and rural businesses

It’s getting rare to find the main banks offering unsecured lending facilities. Tenant farmers, start-ups and those that have reached their secured credit limit find it hard to find finance. But more lenders are coming in to the market and could help you.